Watches: Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Horse

By Thierry Ané on December 21, 2013

The proximity of the new year (January 31st 2014) in the Eastern calendar provides a dream opportunity for Swiss watch brands to court the Chinese customers. After witnessing the siege of an army of snakes on watch dials, prepare for the invasion of horses as each and every watch brand tries to take its “horse’s share” of the Chinese market.

For most brands, this is just another chance to try and increase their stake on the Eastern market and the final product will take more after a trinket than a proper homage to the Chinese zodiac. In the high-end market, though, a few brands transform this exercise in style into an opportunity to showcase the extent of their creativity and craftsmanship in decorative techniques.

With their tribute to the Chinese zodiac, Vacheron Constantin and Chopard have undeniably shown that they are at the spearhead of good taste and elegance. In a previous article, I reviewed the The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac - Year of the HorseWatches: Vacheron Constantin The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac - Year of the Horse (pink gold and white gold versions) that Vacheron Constantin presented to commemorate the forthcoming year. It follows last year’s The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac - Year of the Snake watches, also available in pink gold or platinum.

It is now Chopard’s turn to pay tribute to the Horse’s year in the Eastern calendar with the unveiling of the L.U.C XP Urushi Horse. The watch follows on from last year’s L.U.C XP Urushi Snake and thus leads us to believe it will be followed by ten more models over the next ten years.

The dial of this special timepiece is adorned with a horse motif realised using the Urushi technique of lacquering. Sprinkled gold powder, gold foil and mother-of-pearl are used to produce this exceptional dial. As an ultimate refinement, the box in which the L.U.C XP Urushi Horse is presented has also been decorated by the same maki-e technique.

Intended for formal occasions, this timepiece uses the elegant L.U.C XP case. With a size of 39.5 mm for a thickness of only 6.8 mm, this rose gold case of extremely harmonious proportions is mounted on a black alligator strap that ends with a pin buckle. Inside ticks the ultra-thin in-house L.U.C 96.17-L calibre, powered by an off-centred micro-rotor. Thanks to Chopard’s Twin Technology (two vertically-mounted winding barrels) it provides a maximum power reserve of 65 hours. The sapphire back offers a good view of the micro-rotor or the Côtes de Genève decoration of the bridges.

This is an extremely well-made watch, sophisticated and understated at the same time. Even though it has been created with the Eastern customer in mind, its beauty makes it relevant for Western watch lovers and should arouse the interest of collectors.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: